How have the Detroit Lions fared with their picks in the 2013 draft? We’re handing out grades for each of their selections:
Round 1: Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU
The Lions were a little stuck here. The top three offensive tackles came flying off the board in the first four picks and Detroit, wisely, opted not to trade up and chase. So, that left Ansah, the draft’s top two guards (Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper and CB Dee Milliner as the obvious options.
But Detroit had set itself up heading into this draft to focus heavily on the defensive line. The Lions cut Kyle Vanden Bosch and opted not to use a second straight franchise tag on Cliff Avril, thus precipitating his departure via free agency. Lawrence Jackson bailed, too, so even though the Lions signed Jason Jones, they needed help off the edges.
Ansah will provide that — he’s probably best suited, as raw as he is, for the Lions’ wide-nine look. The BYU product may need some time to bulk up and really hone his craft, but he could be a really exciting player. How long will it take him to be productive, though?
Round 2: Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State
There was a little buzz heading into Friday that Slay might fall due to a meniscus injury in his knee. But the Lions were not scared off and Jim Schwartz said after this pick was made that Slay’s injury is not a long-term issue.
If that turns out to be accurate, then Detroit might have found itself a real nice player here. Slay has good size at 6-foot-1 and 190, plus terrific speed. He played in Johnthan Banks’ shadow at Mississippi State, but there might be more potential in Slay’s game and he outshone Banks plenty of times.
This is a bit of a gamble because of Slay’s knee. Should he get to and stay at 100 percent, the Lions will have their complement to Chris Houston.
Round 3: Larry Warford, G, Kentucky
You’re forgiven if you have not seen Warford play. Heck, even if you watched a Kentucky game during the college football season, chances are you did not have your sights set on the Wildcats’ interior lineman.
But here’s a spoiler: Warford is good. Really good. After Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper, there was a case for Warford as the third best guard in this draft — even above Justin Pugh and Kyle Long, both first-round picks. Warford is huge at 6-foot-3 and 332 pounds and he uses that size to pummel defensive linemen. He’s able to set back and pass-protect, and he really excels driving forward in the run game.
This is a sensational pick here.